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Indonesian volcano spews ash clouds in new eruption

  • In this photograph taken on October 7, 2012, Mount Lokon volcano spews a giant column of volcanic ash during an eruption seen from Tomohon town located in Sulawesi Island. AFP PHOTO

JAKARTA: One of Indonesia's most active volcanoes has erupted again, spewing clouds of ash, an official said Monday.

The 1,580-metre (5,214-feet) Mount Lokon on northeast Sulawesi island erupted at 2pm (0700 GMT) on Sunday with thunderous sounds heard as far as five kilometres (three miles) away.

"Lokon has been quite active the past few months. This was the seventh biggest eruption since mid-September," government vulcanologist Farid Bina told AFP from the volcano's monitoring post in North Sulawesi province.

"It produced a loud sound like thunder. But we cannot detect the height of the eruption as thick clouds covered its peak," he said, adding that muddy rains fell in surrounding areas.

There was no plan to upgrade the volcano's alert level despite the series of eruptions, he said, adding that the nearest village of 250 people was outside the 2.5 kilometre danger zone.

The volcano experienced its biggest recent eruption in July 2011, when more than 5,200 people were evacuated as it sent huge clouds of ash as high as 3,500 metres into the sky.

Since then Mount Lokon has erupted and spewed clouds of ash about 600 times.

The volcano's last deadly eruption was in 1991, when it killed a Swiss tourist.

The Indonesian archipelago has dozens of active volcanoes and straddles major tectonic fault lines known as the "Ring of Fire" between the Pacific and Indian oceans.

The country's most active volcano, Mount Merapi in central Java, killed more than 350 people in a series of violent eruptions last year.

 
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